Metro Health says flu on the rise in Bexar County

One child dead from flu in South Texas this month

By Garrett Brnger - Reporter

SAN ANTONIO - It's the back end of the flu season, but is it just ramping up in Bexar County?

The Department of State Health Services reported a flu-related death of a 2-year-old this month somewhere in a 28-county region of the state, which includes San Antonio. The death did not occur in Bexar County. However, the San Antonio Metropolitan Health District said it has seen more flu-like symptoms in the past 2-3 weeks.

The flu season traditionally lasts from October through May, and Dr. Anil Mangla, Metro Health's communicable diseases director, said it has otherwise been a mild season.

"Having to see this right now in March is not uncommon, and I think we should see another increase for another two weeks or three weeks," Mangla said.

Texas MedClinic, which has 13 San Antonio locations, said it noticed a rise even a week earlier, though it hasn't been anything significant.

"We feel like there's probably been a little blip, but not what we would consider a spike," said Dr. David Gude, Texas MedClinic's chief operating officer.

So with two months left in the flu season, should you get the vaccine if you haven't already? Mangla and Gude had different answers.

Mangla said it's not too late.

"People that are getting the flu right now are the ones that were not vaccinated, and I've had three cases where we interviewed the individuals who did not get the vaccine," Mangla said.

On the other hand, Gude said it's probably not necessary for healthy adults.

"If I hadn't already been vaccinated today, I probably wouldn't be rushing out to get vaccinated," he said. "I think the odds are low that we're going to see anything this late, but they're not zero."

However, Texas MedClinic does recommend children under 4, adults over 65, pregnant women, asthmatics, diabetics and people with heart disease get vaccinated if they haven't already.

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